For many this was an early start with the drive up north, which started out as a beautiful day. But for the few staying the night before they still managed to turn up after the meet time, naming no names, *ahem* Pete!
With our first game tapping off at 10:30am it was time to get warmed up. With everyone getting the bad passes/catches out of the way we went into the first of the two group games with a tough opposition in the form of Yorkshire Thorns.
With the majority of the team having not played with each other before this was we were learning everyone's strengths as we progressed during the game, going score for score until Thorns speed and quick hands put them into the lead and winning the game 9-6. (maybe could have scored and stopped a few more if we knew where the score line was!)
Our final group game was against Belfast Warriors , with the team now fuelled up for the match, we started as we meant to go on and get out with a couple of early scores. Warriors came back with a strong attack bringing the game level. Quick thinking from Boywer and Cropper saw us score another two with Warriors again matching us and finishing the game at 4-4. Now the wait for the placements and next game schedule!
With the draw for the next stage out of the hat we would once again face Thorns, once the questions of match fixing were out the way we got warmed up.
Knowing we were a much more solid team this time around, everyone gaining confidence in themselves and one another we hit them with everything we had. With our defensive communications strong we were able to keep them at bay.
With simple but effective drives we got up the pitch fast allowing us to run some set moves and getting scores on the board, early doors. 4-2 up at half time, going out strong for the second half we kept the defence tight and the back door was flying open giving us the upper hand and winning the match 7-6.
With the semi final game against the French side Hurricanes, picking up our first injury of the day to a key player, and the clouds looming we got underway! Right from the get go the French were clinical in both attack and defence, moving us all over and scoring several points in the first half. We knew we would need to find what energy we had left and use it now if we were to get back into the game. Hurricanes started where they left off with quickies near our line bringing the final score to 7-1 to the Hurricanes, a whirl wind performance by the eventual winners.
Questionable decisions behind us and we were onto our final game of the day, the third/fourth play off against the hosts Percy Pirates and boy did they bring the sea weather in land! Knowing we could leave everything out on that pitch we gave it our all! With the conditions making the ball hard to handle we kept it simple and drove through the middle scoring a few touchdowns by half time, as were determined not to walk the plank!
Like Peter Pan in Neverland we started to fly away out of sight of the Pirates to win the game 7-4 and a lovely pieces of eight (silverware) was ours!
All in all a fantastic day up in the North East, a massive thank you to Percy Pirates for organising the event and to the referees and players for making it such an enjoyable day!
Roll of Honour
Photo credits: NoelCuddyPhotography